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Social Media Best Practices for Congressional Offices

Build your social media brand in three easy steps.

February 26, 2019

In this digital age, social media presence has become a critical component to building a brand. Whether you're starting a small business or running a Congressional office, chances are you're on social media. In fact, according to Quorum, members of Congress posted from official social accounts over 500,000 times in 2018. If you combine this with Pew Research Center's finding that about half of Americans have engaged in civil or social activism via social media (as of 2018), it's easy to see how platforms such as Twitter or Facebook can be tools for political change.

And, because this technology is so new and ever-changing, there's not necessarily a guidebook telling you what to do. Despite the unpredictable algorithms and analytics, social media strategy is much more simple than it may seem. For instance, take the big three: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. While they all serve very different purposes, the basic steps to gaining a following on each platform are fundamentally the same. Here are three strategies to maximize your time spent on social media.

1.Post Regularly

On social platforms with mysterious and ever-changing algorithms, the best way to get exposure is to post consistent and quality content. But don't just post anytime, it's important to plan your posts strategically, by targeting the times and days of the week that your audience is most active. As a general rule of thumb, you want to post when users are likely to be scrolling on their phones, such as before and after work hours or around lunch time. For example, a consistently good time to post would be at noon on weekdays. To help you stick to this targeted time, always try to schedule out a content calendar. Even if you don't know exactly what you're going to post, you can set reminders for important events or information about issues important to your Member. 

As you start to post regularly, you may notice that some posts receive more engagement than others. There can be a lot of reasons for this, but one of the most obvious is that engagement may depend on the type of content you're posting. Does it include images or a link? Hashtags? Your followers may be drawn to different types of content, so it's important to vary your posts.

2. Engage Meaningfully

Just as it is important to post on a regular basis, it is also important to engage on a regular basis. After all, social media is social by nature. Another Pew Research Center study shows that a majority of Americans see social media as a tool for publicizing worthy causes and gaining the attention of elected officials. Therefore, liking, sharing, or retweeting are all ways to point your followers to the other content and accounts that you support.

However, the truly meaningful part of engagement happens when you respond to individual comments or direct messages. Commenting and messaging are much more personal forms of communication on platforms where it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Responding to a follower's reply or DM will show that you took the time to address their concern and will help you build a relationship with that person. Furthermore, taking the time to communicate with your followers individually will help to create a community on the platform. 

IQ users can easily monitor what is going on in their accounts through the social media stream and respond to incoming social messages all directly within IQ. Whether someone tweeted at you or sent you a direct message, these interactions can all be stored and connected to an IQ contact record for future reference.

3. Track Analytics

The only way to know if your content is reaching your audience is by checking analytics. Analytics are readily available on most social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and are usually pretty easy to interpret. Luckily for IQ users, all of your social media analytics can be viewed within IQ, so you can find the stats on your reach and engagement all in one place.

You may ask, why do I need analytics when I can easily see how many likes and shares I got by looking at the original post? Well, analytics reports are also going to tell you the hidden numbers of a post, i.e., how many people saw the post and didn't engage with it. If 10 interacted with your post and only 12 people saw it, then that's a great engagement rate. But, if your post only got a couple engagements and it was seen by thousands of users, then you may have a problem.

Another reason to track analytics is bench-marking. Tracking your reach can help you set goals, such as growing your audience or increasing your engagement, and keep you accountable for achieving those objectives. If you are losing followers or your engagement is decreasing, being on top of your analytics can also help you catch problems and capitalize on opportunities.

Maintaining a strong social media presence is easy, yet often undervalued. Unlike designing a new website, building your brand on social media is a process that is never fully complete. There's no doubt that you'll meet obstacles along the way, but using social media to communicate with your constituents can go a long way towards gaining their trust. Spending a little time every day to create a strong community on your social channels will show that your office is accessible to the people it serves.

Want to learn more about how IQ can help you build your social media presence and engage with your constituents? Contact us for a demo today.

#SOTU2019: Plan Your Response Now

Here's what you need to know about the State of the Union.

January 30, 2019

Although everything is now set and ready to go, the details surrounding President Trump’s 2019 State of the Union address on February 5th have been a bit murky to say the least. While blogs and press releases are fine ways to share your Member’s thoughts on the State of the Union, here are a few easy, affordable ways to express a more personal, engaging response. If you start planning now, your office’s response plan can be crystal clear.

Thanks to input from our valued users on Capitol Hill and federal, state, and local government agencies all around the country, IQ is now faster, more robust, and more powerful than ever before.  But we're not done yet.  Our team constantly evaluates performance and monitors industry trends to make sure the #1 CRM on Capitol Hill keeps getting better.  Keep reading to learn about some of the major enhancements we've already made this year plus updates and new features to look forward to in the coming weeks and beyond!

Q2 2018: IQ Gets Faster

We optimized IQ for the House Cloud resulting in increased performance capacity and increases in speed of up to 30%.  Updates for even faster performance are on the way!  Watch this short video to see how House offices use IQ to be more efficient and effective in their work with the public.

Q4 2018: Collaborate with Colleagues 

Just like Google Docs and other online collaboration tools, IQ now allows multiple users to collaborate and co-edit form letters in real time, directly within IQ.  Save time, improve accuracy and get approval faster by using this new IQ function.

Q4 2018: eNewsletter Overhaul

The overhauled eNewsletter tool in IQ makes it easier to produce and send high impact, high quality email content to your constituents.  Compelling visuals and professional quality layouts in your outgoing email efforts are just a few clicks away.  No design experience required.

Q1 2019: Email Automation

New email automation functionality in IQ will allow you to build "smart" email campaigns that automatically optimize your outreach based on performance metrics and constituent engagement.  This game-changing new feature will dramatically change the way you can communicate to the public using IQ.

Q1 2019: New Mapping Interface

IQ users will have the ability to overlay critical issue and message data with a new mapping interface that displays boundaries for states, Congressional districts and counties.  This new feature gives frontline staff and executive management new insights on the public from a detailed geographic standpoint for data driven decision making.

2019: Machine Learning

Our developers are hard at work building an innovative machine learning platform for IQ that will make recommendations for categorizing and responding to incoming messages.  Planned for release some time in 2019, machine learning in IQ will save staffers even more time and free them up for other priorities and goals.

 

To learn more about how IQ has evolved and what's to come, contact us at iq.info@leidos.com